Cost-Driven Materials Selection Criteria for Redox Flow Battery Electrolytes

Potential/size selection maps and cost reduction strategies for flow batteries using either non-aqueous or aqueous electrolytes.

Scientific Achievement

Techno-economic analysis shows that design challenges for non-aqueous batteries include minimizing salt content and dropping redox-active species concentration to moderate levels, while aqueous batteries are sensitive to only redox-active material cost and cell voltage due to low area-specific resistance and supporting electrolyte costs.

Significance and Impact

Redox flow batteries show promise for grid-scale energy storage applications but presently are too expensive for widespread adoption. Electrolyte material costs of flow batteries constitute a sizeable fraction of redox flow battery price.

Research Details

  • We developed a techno-economic model for redox flow battery (RFB) electrolytes.
  • Electrolyte costs account for redox active material, salt, and solvent components with reactor, balance-of-plant, and additional costs considered.
  • Design maps to build $100 kWh-1 RFBs guide electrolyte materials selection.
  • Multiple pathways to decreasing RFB electrolyte costs are proposed.

DOI: 10.1016/j.jpowsour.2016.08.129

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